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In 2001, PPG Industries created a new purpose for a breakthrough plastic technology called Trivex. The urethane-based pre-polymer substance would come to offer three primary benefits for eyeglass lenses, including:
While other types of lens material like polycarbonate (impact-resistant, transparent plastic), high-index (thinner, lighter plastic), and glass exist, Trivex has proven to be an excellent choice for optical lenses.
In the United States, the use of Trivex as ophthalmic lens material has grown in popularity. Lenses made from Trivex material fulfill the same safety standards as those made from polycarbonate. However, because of Trivex’s manufacturing process, plastic lenses sporting Trivex material do not distort vision as much.
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Polycarbonate and Trivex are common lens types used for children’s eyewear, safety glasses, and sports eyewear. Opticians recommend these types of plastics because of their UV protection and high-impact resistance.
Both polycarbonate and Trivex are lightweight. This particular characteristic works well with rimless frames or drill mount eyewear.
Nevertheless, there are differences that can make Trivex a preferable option.
Prescription glasses with lenses made from Trivex boast a high Abbe value of 43 to 45. Polycarbonate, however, has an Abbe value of 30. The Abbe value is important because it measures chromatic aberration (light dispersed through a lens into its color elements). Depending on the degree of chromatic aberration, images viewed through eyewear may appear more or less distorted.
That said, the higher the Abbe value, the lower the chromatic aberration and the higher the likelihood of visual clarity. Trivex, when compared to polycarbonate, works better.
Trivex is also much more resistant to chemicals than polycarbonate. For example, Trivex did not experience any change in weight, diameter, or clarity when submerged in containers of chemicals like acetone (a volatile, flammable liquid) for 10 days. On the other hand, polycarbonate had a solid white appearance.
Trivex has been shown to be resistant to household products like bleach, salt water, window glass cleaner, sun tan cream, and nail polish remover.
Lastly, Trivex has a lower specific gravity (1.11) to that of polycarbonate (1.66). Specific gravity describes the ratio of density of any given material to that of a reference substance. In effect, a lower value means that the material-at-hand is less dense, i.e. more lightweight. Trivex, in this case, is one of the lightest materials used for lenses.
Due to its composition and design, Trivex lenses offers many benefits, including:
Finally, Trivex can undergo a host of surface treatments, including anti-reflective, hard coatings, and tinting. This aspect makes Trivex an excellent option for sunglasses, too. Photochromic lenses are available in Trivex as well.
Although Trivex lenses provide an almost endless list of advantages, there are some downsides. These disadvantages are as follows:
More than a decade has passed since the introduction of Trivex into the optical market. This means that the product is more common and costs have gone down slightly.
Yet, because Trivex lenses have many strong attributes, costs can range between 200 and 400 dollars. Factors that may influence the final price are:
If you’re considering purchasing new eyewear and are interested in Trivex, it is recommended to speak to your eye care specialist for additional information. Not all eyeglass lenses are the same and your eye care specialist will be able to find the most suitable option for your individual needs.
Trivex is a urethane-based pre-polymer substance developed by PPG Industries for use in eyeglasses. It was designed to provide exceptional optical clarity, high-performance strength, and ultra-lightweight comfort.
There are no refractive errors that make you NEED Trivex lenses. However, they are a great option for people who need safety lenses, or those who live active lifestyles because they offer 100 percent protection from UV rays, sharper central vision, and sharper peripheral vision.
No, Trivex lenses are scratch-resistant. They can also be coated in additional anti-scratch coating for increased protection.
Trivex lenses are slightly lighter, have a higher tensile strength, and may produce sharper central vision and peripheral vision due to their higher Abbe value and lower internal stress. However, Trivex is slightly thicker, less widely available, and usually costs more than polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate lenses have been around longer and are more widely available. Trivex lenses often cost more than polycarbonate, though the prices vary widely for both.
High index plastic is thinner and more lightweight, and usually have more options in terms of lens colors and sizes. Trivex is slightly more optically clear and impact resistant than high index.
Trivex lenses are an excellent choice if safety is an issue or you lead an active lifestyle.
“How to Choose Eyeglasses for Vision Correction.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 27 June 2020, www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/glasses.
“How to Get the Best Eyeglass Lenses.” Consumer Reports, 2016, www.consumerreports.org/eyeglass-stores/how-to-get-the-best-eyeglass-lenses/.
“Optical Monomers and Coatings.” PPG Optical Products, www.ppgoptical.com/Optical-Materials/Trivex-lens-material.aspx.
PPG Optical Materials. “Trivex User's Guide.” 2006.